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Television and radio programme reviews, trailers, highlights, twilights and cinema news. Also the neglected gems from years past.

Comic Relief: David Lammy shamed whites into not giving

Comic RElief

Two stories about Comic Relief, the BBC’s tired telethon. What is about the BBC that shows are celebrated chiefly for their longevity? And those presenters who go on for eons – but at least Dr Who gets to regenerate his genitalia every couple of years. Maybe it’s about institutions needing other institutions to make the mob bow to their edifices of permanency and legacy? Or maybe it’s just laziness?

The first Comic Relief story is that some Tory MPs are angry (natch.) that the fundraiser dresses to the Left. The Mail on Sunday calls it an “AD FOR CORBYN”. In which case, hard cheese, Jezza, because the Sunday Times says Comic Relief raised £8m less than last year – £63m compared with £71.3m.

The blame for less cash is apparently rooted in Labour MP David Lammy citing tin rattlers for their “white saviour” complex. When the Beeb’s pro-celeb dance champion and journalist Stacey Dooley, 32, uploaded a photo of herself posing with a young African child in Uganda she captioned it “Obsessed!”, “as if she was plugging a new face cream, not holding an unhappy Ugandan child.” Lammy saw it and tweeted: “The world does not need any more white saviours.”

The Times notes today: “Others said they had decided not to donate this year because they did not want to be accused of acting like a “white saviour”.” Nice one, Dave. Middle-class whites with spare cash will spend it on something else. What does Jess Phillips spend her money on? Farrow & Ball paint, festival tickets and Waitrose, possibly.

So how can we redistribute the world’s wealth and keep narcissistic politicians and celebs happy? Fair trade coffee, au pairs, cocaine and Filipino maids are a start. But this is about giving and who gets to give freely. We don’t tick a box declaring our race when donating money to Comic Relief, but maybe we should. In the current climate of identity politics, the State can use the data to work out which sort of people give the least and which give the most. Much fairer that way, right?

Africa’s poor will be waiting.

Posted: 17th, March 2019 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Money, News, TV & Radio | Comment


The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann: TV at its most pathetic

mccann maddie podcast

Netflix’s Madeleine McCann documentary was full of shocks and theories from experts in ‘Our Maddie’ Studies (OMS). So dire was the that the missing child’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, refused to take part. How can you fill an eight-part TV show if the people who knew the subject best won’t say anything new? Will eight hours of grainy footage, newspaper cuttings and speculation be enough to keep subscribers tuned in to a show without end?

The director wants “to take the viewer on the journey that the public went on”. This is what happens when you watch the X Factor too often: you realise a journey can lead nowhere.

The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann opted for timeline over insight. So we get Madeleine McCann jetting off on her hols; Madeleine McCann playing on her hols; Madeleine McCann going missing on her hols; get the full glossary of OMS terms – Cuddle Cat, Tapas 7, Arguido, Amaral – and then lots of ‘Our Maddie’, and how the British child became public property and a docu-drama on pay-for-view US telly.

The single thread story spun by a voracious media was all Netflix had and it wasn’t going to bother finding anything more.

If you know what happened to her, call the police. If you want to see a crime show, watch an Agatha Christie.

Posted: 15th, March 2019 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, News, TV & Radio | Comment


Michael Jackson: beat him and burn him but don’t miss the Wacko Jacko exhibition at The Tate

Michael Jackson fan Seany O'Kane displays a message of support
Michael Jackson fan Seany O’Kane displays a message of support

No-one’s dug Michael Jackson up and beaten the corpse with sticks. Nor have they set his remains alight – and given his latter-years’ waxy appearance, stuck a wick in his head and let him burn so that all the living can see what we do to dead stars accused of molesting children and getting away with it. For now we’ll have to make do with burning Wacko Jacko’s memorabilia, which is what anyone who tuned into HBO’s four-hour-long documentary Leaving Neverland saw as the closing credits rolled. Before we got to the burning pyre of branded Jackson merchandises, we heard the harrowing and credible testimonies of Wade Robson and James Safechuck. The two claim that they were abused as children by Michael Jackson.

But unless Jackson begins to speak and justice can grind and arrive at some incorruptible truth, facts are hard to ascertain, and people will take sides and turn hideous, grim alleged crimes into a shouting match.

All we have is a spark of light in the darkness that is soon extinguished, leaving us to flounder in search of its source. Maybe the next spark will alight on a new angle and flash us glimpses of different propositions, thing to stir our hunches and armchair investigations based on prejudice, righteousness, caprice and schadenfreude? After all, as Tim Black notes, “Robson was convincing and credible in 2005, when he took to the stand in defence of Jackson, over allegations of child molestation. And then he was not facing the sympathetic director of Leaving Neverland, Dan Reed, but fearsome prosecution attorney Tom Sneddon.” But that’s child abusers for you: they know their quarry are easily scared.

So what are you going to do with your Michael Jackson clobber and records? It’s not as if he sang about paedophilia and promoted it as a lifestyle choice. The music and videos were wildly entertaining. Can you ignore the man and delight in their product?

Last year, the Tate exhibited the work of English artist Edward Burne-Jones (28 August 1833 – 17 June 1898). The brochure says he “brought imaginary worlds to life in awe-inspiring paintings, stained glass windows and tapestries”. You can see his work at the National Portrait Gallery. When not making worthy art, Eddie was busy being a virulent anti-Semite. His Jew hatred was “blatant and repulsive“. And what of Phil Spector? He murdered a woman. You can hear his records on the radio and buy the house where the crime took place.

Patience, Jackson diehards. Your hero will rise again. The smart investor will be buying up Jackson’s oeuvre and old tour jackets while prices plummet. One day they’ll put on a show at the Tate and that stuff will be worth a bomb.

Posted: 11th, March 2019 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, TV & Radio | Comment


Biased BBC: John McDonnell is Fleabag on BBC News

John McDonnell BBC

More questions over the dreaded mainstream media’s treatment of Jeremy Corbyn and his comrades after last night’s BBC News at Ten used an image of shadow chancellor John McDonnell to trail a TV show called Fleabag during a segment on Brexit.

Fleabag is about an angry, confused young woman living in London. As anyone knows, John McDonnell as with Corbyn, is an angry and confused man living in London. Although Labour abhors gender labelling, so McDonnell might well be angry and confused woman living in London after all.

John McDonnell is 68.

Posted: 11th, March 2019 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, TV & Radio | Comment


Stacey Dooley grandstanding for Comic Relief is celebrity colonialism for a good cause

Stacey Dooley
Stacey Dooley: putting Uganda on the map

Labour MP David Lammy says “the world does not need any more white saviours”. He’s taken offence at the picture Stacey Dooley posted on instagram (see above) of her trip to Uganda with BBC’s Comic Relief.

Think not of the grandstanding, but of the good causes it helps.

Amen.

Lammy says “the image she wants to promote is her as heroine and black child as victim”. When she told him he could always go there himself, he replied: “This isn’t personal and I don’t question your good motives.” Which is precisely the opposite of what he did.

Previously in celebrity colonialism:

Angelina Jolie

Previously at the Labour Party conference:

Fact: The West knows best.

Posted: 28th, February 2019 | In: Celebrities, Politicians, TV & Radio | Comment


‘Jihadi’ Jack Letts misses his mum and wants to come home to the UK

Jack LEtts
Jack The Bad / Jack the Sad / Jack the Dad

White Briton, dad of one and Islam convert ‘Jihadi’ Jack Letts wants to leave the Kurdish prison he’s called home for the past two years and come home to the UK. In no particular order, he wants to see his mum, watch Dr Who and eat pasties.

Jack Letts is the the 23-year-old from Oxford accused of travelling to Syria to fight for Islamic State, the group that murders children in Manchester, rapes Christian women and chucks homosexuals from tall buildings. The YPG have charged him with being a member of ISIS.

Letts has been talking with ITV News:

“If the UK accepted me then I’d go back to the UK, it’s my home. But I don’t think that’s going to happen. I miss people mostly. I miss my mum. I know that sounds a bit toddler-ish. Even if I could just see my mum – I would just like a phone call, I don’t know if Britain can do that for me here, but I’d like just a phone call to my mum – it’s been two years.”

If not the UK, then Letts can head to Canada – he holds a Canadian passport thanks to his father’s nationality.

Back home in Oxford, mum and dad, Sally Lane and John Letts, are to be tried for sending money to their son. They deny three charges of funding terrorism. They insist their boy went to Syria to help refugees. On the FreeJackLetts blog, they write:

“…we too dream of the day when we will see him again, wrap our arms around him, and convince him that – despite his claim that ‘the world hates me without even knowing me’ – he will again be treated like a human being and not like the media-created monster he has been made out to be.”

Letts’ chat comes as the UK media form a queue to speak with Shamima Begum, the Briton who joined ISIS and has had her British citizenship revoked. You wonder who’s next in the hot seat? Do foreign journalists interview their fellow nationals held in UK prisons? And does it help to get your story widely known before any court case?

Human rights champion Nadia Murad was sold into sexual slavery by ISIS. She escaped, seeking and gayning asylum in Germany in 2015. She wants justice for Yazidi men and women. Upon becoming a Nobel laureate, she said:

“We must work together with determination — so that genocidal campaigns will not only fail, but lead to accountability for the perpetrators. Survivors deserve justice. And a safe and secure pathway home.”

Isn’t it time we heard more from the victims?

Posted: 22nd, February 2019 | In: News, TV & Radio | Comment


Gemma Collins seeks spiritual advice from Kerry Katona

kerryt katona

Who better for Gemma Collins to turn to for spiritual advice than Kerry Katona, former Queen of ITV’s I’m A Celebrity jungle and long billed in the tabloid press as “troubled”? Kerry is the women who had her cosmetic surgery televised and was once so hard up, she was forced to sell her parrot to buy Tampax.

Collins, 38, currently between injuries in ITV’s Dancing On Ice is “seeking help from crystal-loving Kerry Katona”. That’s an unfortunate or conniving play on words by the Mail, given Kerry’s battles with drugs – and crystal is a shorthand for crystal meth. The People reminds readers that Katona is an “ex-addict” whose nadir – or at least one of them – was being filmed taking coke a caper that led to her getting sacked by Iceland (the frozen food store and not the nation). In any case, Collins wants help calming down not speeding up. A source arrives to explain all:

“It sounds a bit woo and wacky, but Kerry’s obsessed with meditating and yoga and it’s helped her so much with her stress and anxiety. Kerry has been choosing crystals she thinks will help Gemma cope with the pressures of Dancing on Ice and all the diva accusations she’s had.”

Anorak advices Collins choose the homophonous Krsytle Carrington, who was always ice cool in a crisis, save for when Alexis pushed her too far and she resorted to fisticuffs.

PS: Cynics will point out that Katona and Collins have have the same agent. This in no way diminishes from the truth of this story.

Posted: 10th, February 2019 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Tabloids, TV & Radio | Comment


Love Island winner Jack Fincham: being famous gets you drugs and booze

Jack Fincham, winner of TV’s Love Island, and Mr Dani Dayer, wants to talk about “My coke shame”. But before the shame, the sympathetic back story. The Sun, which leads with the news of Fincham’s drug taking, tells us he “caved in” to the “temptation” of “regularly being offered drugs in the wake of his TV triumph”. Other reality TV shows offer less mind-blowing prizes. But that’s showbiz.

Jack, 27, tells us: “I’ve made a terrible error.” And ..? Well, why are you telling us, Jack? Are you getting in first before an expose hits the papers? Is the Sun now an extension of the therapy industries – “If you want a sympathetic ear and a chance to talk, call 0800 Snort ‘n’ Tell (You’re amongst friends!”)?

There are two more pages of Fincham to browse. And we note that he’s “dreading telling hardman Danny Dyer about his cocaine shame”. Danny is, of course, Dani’s homophonous dad, the EastEnders actor.

But surely Danny will understand how “dangerous elements of the showbiz scenes” can pull young noses towards an incidental table in an Kent hotel. Says Jack: “Since winning the show I’ve been offered cocaine a lot”, plus “free drinks” and a chance to appear in another reality TV show. Yes, that’s right, Jack’s shame trails the TV show The Full Monty, named in honour of the film in which a group of down-on-their-luck men from the impoverished provinces turn to the skin trade to earn a few quid and fame. Showbiz, eh. The top prize used to be car.

Posted: 5th, February 2019 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Tabloids, TV & Radio | Comment


Bros find success in failure – 1980s band enjoy fame after documentary ridicule

 Bros: After The Screaming Stops

The answer to the stuttering refrain “When will I, will I be famous?” was simple: when you’re shaggable, have pop star hair and write a catchy tune the promoters love. Now Bros, who asked the question in 1987, have triggered a new answer to it: when nostalgia bites and you become the nation’s pet thickos. And so it is that after a documentary brought them to back to the fore, Surrey-born Matt and Luke Goss – the other part of the original Bros band, Craig Logan, is busy – have announced they will be performing a comeback show in London.

For those of you missed the Decembeer 2017 BBC documentary Bros: After The Screaming Stops, here are a few choice cuts:

Bros quotes funny
Bros documentary quotes funny
Bros documentary quotes funny

The lovely irony is that the documentary followed twins Matt and Luke as they reunited ahead of their ill-fated 2017 tour. Showing us failure has resulted in success.

And you too can be famous – just as soon as “you’ve read Karl Marx
/ And you’ve taught yourself to dance.”

Posted: 14th, January 2019 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Music, News, TV & Radio | Comment


Jeremy Corbyn completes his EastEnders audition

Jeremy Corbyn shirty Marr

Jeremy Corbyn is on Andrew Marr’s Sunday morning politics show. If body language matters – and surely it does – the Labour leader’s habit of tilting his head and looking up does him few favours.

In 2008, actor Chris Coghill was hired to play Tony King on EastEnders. His character would become one of the most reviled in the history of British soap operas. How did he manage to look shifty and disingenuous. Coghill explained: “I’ve always been able to turn on the sinister look. Sid Owen said to me that all I had to do was tilt my head down and look up and it’s there.”

Jeremy Corbyn says vote for him and he’ll let you know what his Brexit plans are.

Posted: 13th, January 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, TV & Radio | Comment


Bob Einstein tells a funny and a revolting joke

Bob Einstein has died aged 76. Best known for playing Marty Funkhouser in Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, Einstein is seen here telling a joke at a show Q&A.

 

 

And this – which is “revolting” and is very NSFW:

 

Here he is pulling over Liberace for playing too fast. Einstein is Officer Judy, the character who made his debut by lip-syncing to a Judy Collins record.

 

 

And not forgetting Super Dave:

 

 

Bob Einstein – November 20, 1942 – January 2, 2019.

Posted: 7th, January 2019 | In: Celebrities, News, TV & Radio | Comment


The Marion Stokes Archive: 33 years of 24-hour live news TV

marion stokes

 

In 1979 Marion Stokes flipped the record button on her VCR and began recording live television. She continued to record live telly for over 33 years. She only stopped when she died. Matt Wolf wants to show us more of the Stokes Archive:

Marion Stokes was secretly recording television twenty-four hours a day for thirty years. It started in 1979 with the Iranian Hostage Crisis at the dawn of the twenty-four hour news cycle. It ended on December 14, 2012 while the Sandy Hook massacre played on television as Marion passed away. In between, Marion recorded on 70,000 VHS tapes, capturing revolutions, lies, wars, triumphs, catastrophes, bloopers, talk shows, and commercials that tell us who we were, and show how television shaped the world of today.

The whole shebang is being hosted by The Internet Archive but we can’t find any. But this Tumblr has a few stills from the Stokes tapes. 

Spotter: Kottke and Flashbak

Posted: 5th, January 2019 | In: Key Posts, TV & Radio | Comment


The Inbetweeners are back for a 10th anniversary special

the inbetweeners

 

After the yellow Fiat Cinquecento – The Yellow Peril – sank in 2010, The Inbetweeners headed off for films in Magaluf and Australia. But now the car and the foursome are back in suburbia for a tenth anniversary, two-hour TV special. Simon Bird, James Buckley, Blake Harrison and Joe Thomas are back. Let’s hope none of them are ill, and nothing’s deeper than Jay’s box of bedside tissues. At what point does teenage humiliation turn into something darker and more depressing?

 

Posted: 10th, December 2018 | In: TV & Radio | Comment


Whistle along to this clip of brilliant British TV from 1972

Here’s a lovely dash of Brilliant British TV from 1972. It’s Blue Peter. John Noakes is on the turntables. And a wonderful whistler is knocking them bandy:

 

Posted: 5th, December 2018 | In: TV & Radio | Comment


Deke Duncan: DJ who broadcast to an audience of one gets BBC radio show

deke duncan stevenage

 

“I genuinely thought this was a well-crafted parody, something that the likes of @serafinowicz & @robertpopper would conjure up, but no…it’s 100% genuine – All hail Deke Duncan from Stevenage,” tweets John Morter. A video from the BBC archives takes us back to 1974. We meet Deke Duncan, the producer, presenter and pretty much most other things at Stevenage’s Radio 77 his wife Teresa can’t or won’t do. With no licence, Radio 77, based in a shed at 57 Gonville Crescent in Stevenage, can only be beamed through a speaker in his living room, where Teresa listens. It might be the most romantic thing ever. 

 

 

This week, Deke Duncan, now 73, was invited to present a show on BBC local radio. He fulfilled his “ultimate ambition” to broadcast to the rest of Stevenage.

“We used to record all the shows and play them back and think – that’s cool – but we couldn’t afford to keep buying spools of tape so recorded over them,” he said. “That house was our ship. We took the fantasy so far we said we must not go out the front or back door because you’ll fall in the sea.” The nautical theme followed his love of pirate station Radio Caroline, which broadcast from a boat off the coast of Essex in the 1960s.

Mr Duncan, who has since moved to Stockport, Greater Manchester, still broadcasts Radio 77 to “the smallest audience in the country” – his wife.

He said he felt “emotional” when station editor Laura Moss invited him to present his own one-hour special over Christmas.

 

 

Spotter: Flashbak

Posted: 21st, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True, TV & Radio | Comment


Richard Baker: voice of BBC TV’s first news bulletin dies

Richard baker

 

Richard Baker has died. The former BBC newsreader and Proms presenter was 93. Baker introduced the corporation’s first news bulletin broadcast on 5 July 1954. To many, his was the face of TV news. He also voiced the children’s series, Mary, Mungo & Midge, first produced by the BBC in 1969. Asked why he did not smile more often on television, Baker replied: “Because there is seldom anything in the news likely to make anyone smile.”

The Times adds:

Mr Baker served on a minesweeper with the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve during World War Two, which interrupted his studies at Cambridge University.

He was born in north London [Willesden] and was the son of a plasterer, attending grammar school before reading history and modern languages at Peterhouse College.

He worked for the BBC from 1954 until 1982.

The BBC recalls his big break:

In 1950, he wrote to the BBC asking if they were recruiting actors, resulting in an offer of a job as a presenter on what was then called the Third Programme, much later to become Radio 3…

When the news department began planning bulletins, Baker and Kenneth Kendall were recruited..

Notable how chance played a key role in so many careers…

 

Posted: 17th, November 2018 | In: Celebrities, TV & Radio | Comment


BBC sign language expert nails Brexit

Are you keeping up with Brexit? Nothing’s been signed. No deal has been done. The UK remains in the EU. Millions of words have been written on the matter. But the whole thing can is best summed up by the BBC’s sign language interpreter:

 

 

Those Brexit options:

* A second referendum. Question to be asked: ‘Did you understand the 1st referendum?’
* Carry on talking to the EU forever
* Reduce number of people on benefits by giving the unemployed each two hours work as Brexit chief negotiator

Posted: 16th, November 2018 | In: Politicians, TV & Radio | Comment


I Was Big Bird: Caroll Spinney retires from Sesame Street

spinney oscar sesame street big bird

 

Oscar the Grouch and big Bird are looking for a new inside man following news that Sesame Street puppeteer Caroll Spinney has retired from the roles he’s performed since the show’s 1969 premiere.

“Big Bird brought me so many places, opened my mind and nurtured my soul,” said Spinney. “And I plan to be an ambassador for Sesame Workshop for many years to come. After all, we’re a family! But now it’s time for two performers that I have worked with and respected – and actually hand-picked for the guardianship of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch – to take my alter-egos into their hands and continue to give them life.”

After five decades as the heart and soul of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, it’s impossible to entirely separate the man from the characters he so vibrantly brought to life. Big Bird visited China with Bob Hope in 1979. He’s danced with the Rockettes, and with prima ballerina Cynthia Gregory. He’s been feted with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, celebrated with his likeness on a U.S. postage stamp, and named a “Living Legend” in 2000 by the Library of Congress. Performing Big Bird has taken Caroll to China, Japan, Australia, France, Germany, Canada, and the United Kingdom. He has performed on hundreds of episodes of television, starred as his big yellow avatar in the feature film Follow That Bird, and conducted symphony orchestras throughout the United States, Australia, and Canada. Spinney even met his wife of 45 years, Debra, on the Sesame Street set in 1973.

From now on, Matt Vogel and Eric Jacobson, will be warming Oscar and Big Bird. For an inkling of what they can expect, Spinney told Jessica Gross in 2015:

There used to be an urban tale that my right arm was twice the size of my left. Although that wasn’t true, I would say it was twice as strong. The bird’s head weighs four and a half pounds, which doesn’t sound heavy until you try to hold it over your head for fifteen minutes. A guy once said, “Well, four and a half pounds, that’s nothing. I could hold a hundred pounds over my head.” I said, “I don’t think so. I bet you can’t hold your empty hand over your head for five minutes, let alone if I put a four and a half pound head in your hand at the same time.” About two and a half minutes into it, he’s going, “Geez…” He never made it to the five minutes. He said, “This is stupid, I’m not doing this.” Well, he was stupid, anyway.

You can see Spinney at work in I Am Big Bird :

 

 

Posted: 19th, October 2018 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, TV & Radio | Comment


Steve Punt is a more convincing Eric Idle than Eric Idle is

BBC Breakfast used a photo of Steve Punt and not Eric Idle during their interview with the former Monty Python stalwart (that’s Idle not Punt):

 

eric idle steve punt

Eric Idle (left) and Steve Punt (right)

 

Punt played Eric Idle in the BBC show Holy Flying Circus, which covered the release of Monty Python’s Life of Brian. 

 

Posted: 17th, October 2018 | In: News, TV & Radio | Comment


Madeleine McCann stars in a sick Facebook quiz and audience growth campaign

Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child. The Daily Record directs our gaze towards a Facebook Post we’re pretty sure nearly everyone missed. Lots of children whose names you will be more familiar with are mentioned in a post on a page run by the “Savage Banter Casuals”. Says the Mirror:

Paige Doherty and Milly Dowler among child murder victims mocked by ‘banter’ Facebook post.

And then more savage banter:

Madeline McCann, Kriss Donald, Holly Wells, Jessica Chapman and Keith Bennett are included in the so called ‘humorous’ social media quizz.

 

madeleine mccann quiz

Best to stick with the tabloidese ‘Maddie’

 

That, of course, is Madeleine McCann and a ‘quiz’. It’s always bet to spell a missing child’s name correctly. But when you’re incandescent with rage, mistakes are easy to make. Thanks to the Record reading an obscure Facebook post, we get to know of a “sick and vile” Facebook quiz “making fun of child murder victims” that “has been revealed”. That’s “revealed” as in ‘read’. And also seen: “The face of each child was photoshopped on top of the English football team, with the caption: ‘Sunday night quiz, name the full 11’.”

The Record reproduces the photo:

 

madeleine mccann quiz

The sick quiz

 

And then the paper helps quizzers with the correct answers. Spoiler alert!

Clockwise, starting from the top left, the tragic kids being mocked in the post are: Madeleine McCann , Tia Sharp, Paige Doherty (pictured twice), Steven Lawrence, Milly Dowler, Kriss Donald, Sarah Payne, Jessica Chapman, Keith Bennett and Holly Wells.

 

maddie mccann

If you don’t want to know the answers, look away now.

 

We then get a small story of each horrific case, and hear from Disgusted of Facebook telling us it’s “disgusting using murdered children’s faces as a joke”. Adding:

The post has now been removed and page administrators have apologised for causing offence.

So the Facebook page is not all that “savage” then. It’s actually just adolescent, sad and apologetic.

In other news, the Daily Mirror’sAudience Growth Editor” hits the web with a story: “The Cry author says Madeleine McCann case DID inspire BBC drama.” 

The scene where they react to Noah no longer being in the car prompted many viewers to compare the the show to Madeleine McCann’s disappearance.

Madeleine McCann went missing from her bed in a real-life horror show. Noah was made up.

In 2007, four-year-old Maddie disappeared from a holiday apartment in Portugal sparking a huge media campaign to find her, that’s still ongoing to this day.

Not so much. It’s more of a police investigation than a media campaign. But, sure, the media did turn the single-thread story of an innocent missing child into ‘Our Maddie’, “every parent’s worst nightmare”.

 

the cry mccann

 

The Cry author told The Herald about the inspiration for her work in a story headlined “The Cry author Helen FitzGerald on how real-life heartache inspired BBC drama”:

THERE is a moment in the first episode of new Sunday night drama The Cry when Jenna Coleman’s character, a washed-out new mother weighed down with baby, buggy and bags, struggles up the steps of her tenement flat.

“I watched it thinking – my God, that was my life,” marvels Glasgow author Helen FitzGerald, upon whose novel the new series is based.

Yes, indeed – author bases work of fiction on own life’s experiences, ideas and thoughts. Who knew? But will that help “audience growth” as much as zooming in on the Maddie McCanna angle? As the Mirror works out which missing child gets the most clicks (who needs Facebook for “sick” stuff?), we learn that like The Cry, FitzGerald’s life was set in Australia, what with her having been born there.

Australian-born FitzGerald, author of a string of successful thrillers, is certain the roots of her novel – which has been adapted by screenwriter Jacqueline Perske – lie [sic] in her experience of new motherhood.

And Madeleine McCann, right? After 15 paragraphs of how her own life shaped her work, we finally reach the Mirror’s headline news:

FitzGerald, now 52, was a teenager in Australia in 1980 when Lindy Chamberlain was wrongfully convicted of murdering her nine-week-old daughter. She claimed she saw a dingo leave the tent where Azaria was sleeping, during a family camping holiday…

In 2007, four-year-old Madeleine McCann vanished from a holiday apartment in Portugal’s Praia da Luz, sparking another high profile media campaign in which accusations were levelled at Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry.

Adding:

“I saw Lindy speaking on television to the McCanns, giving them support and I thought – what a terrible community this is, what an awful thing by which to be bound together.”

She adds: “I have always believed both of them. But thinking about their cases made me wonder – what kind of couple would get away with something like this? What would have to be going on behind the scenes in that relationship?”

And on motherhood:

“Does anyone remember Mr Chamberlain’s name?” she says, wryly. “Lindy was incredibly naïve and open and just had no clue, and she got slaughtered by the media. Her case was really the first example of trial by television.

“Women are always the target, especially when babies are involved. No matter how much we talk about parental or gender equality, that’s what happens.”

Actually, no. We can’t recall his name. Maybe that can be a quiz question? But he’s called Gerry McCann. But, then, he’s not the inspiration for the book and the TV drama as such as Lindy Chamberlain’s story was.

Spoiler: Lindy Chamberlain’s husband was Michael Chamberlain.

Fact: Madeleine McCann is missing. There are no suspects. If you know what happened to her, call the police. Please don’t speculate here.

Posted: 15th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, Tabloids, TV & Radio | Comment


TV reporter Gustavo Almadovar is signing off

Gustavo Almodovar, a one-time reporter for Channel 9 eyewitness news, can’t say his last name without moving his head. “I’m not so sure it’s worthy of the attention it has received,” said Almodovar, who left the Florida station in 2008. “Aside from friends and a few co-workers teasing me about the video, life has been quite ordinary. It’s like bubble gum. People will chew it for a little while, toss it and move on.”

 

 

The Internet got to work. Here’s the disco remix:

Posted: 14th, October 2018 | In: Strange But True, TV & Radio | Comment


Boris Johnson in Kuenssberg and Rigby fake news shocker

boris johnson interview

 

Boris Johnson is back on the telly. Both the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg and Sky’s Beth Rigby have the first televised interview since Johnson resigned as Foreign Secretary. Is it a case of mistaken identity? This might be a mater for the US Supreme Court…

Posted: 28th, September 2018 | In: Politicians, TV & Radio | Comment


Cold War Steve: Steve McFadden stars in an exhibition by Twitter’s greatest artist

Cold War Steve mcfadden

 

The art of Cold War Steve is to feature in an exhibition at The Social, London. Called A Brief History of the World (1953 – 2018), the show’s running thread is the presence of British actor Steve McFadden, famed for playing tough nut Phil Mitchell on the BBBC dystopian soap opera, EastEnders. There’s fun to be had in spotting famous faces from the world stage and British telly. Personal favourites are poleaxed TalkSport DJ Alan Brazil and the late Cilla Black offering a quizzical look to us from the montage – a look that says ‘Who invited you?’ and ‘What the bloody hell am I doing here?’

Christopher Spencer, the talent behind @ColdWarSteve explains it simply: ” The more incongruous they were, the funnier.” And, boy, are they funny:

 

Cold War Steve mcfadden Cold War Steve mcfadden Cold War Steve mcfadden

 

More from @ColdWarSteve on Twitter.  A Brief History of the World (1953 – 2018) is at The Social from October 15.

Posted: 27th, September 2018 | In: Celebrities, News, The Consumer, TV & Radio | Comment


BBC reporter demands people stop using Instagram, Facebook and their phones to look at the BBC

“How do you deal with smartphone ‘zombies’?” asks the Jeremy Vine show on BBC Radio 2. You mean people like Mhairi McFarlane (@MhairiMcF), who responds: “What’s wrong with looking at your phone? I have £500 worth of computer in my pocket containing all my friends and the sum of human knowledge but I’m supposed to prefer what, small talk with random johnnies?” Not talk. Listen. Sorry. LISTEN!

The Vine show’s judgemental man at large is Tim Johns who under his @timoncheese handle tweets: “Here is how I spent my morning: using a megaphone to heckle members of the public for having their heads buried in their phones.”

To which my response is: ever been punched?

Johns is wonderfully lacking in self awareness. He says the people with their faces “buried in their phones” are “completely oblivious to the fact I’m walking around with a big microphone”. Tim, mate, they’re not. They’ve seen you. It’s not the 1950s or Wrexham, when and where you’d cause quite a stir. To wit, the first pedestrian (only three are recorded – and one of them’s a Cabbie) he gets to speak with is an Australian woman. There will be emails home.

Johns is a middle-aged man in central London looking to annoy people minding their own business. He’s more in common with a chugger than a happening. He also has a megaphone slung from his neck “to keep them safe” lest they step out into the road and be killed, or not pay him a blind bit of notice. Give it up Instagram and Snapchat – real narcissists have old media credentials. “Life is more important than Facebook,” Johns chides one stranger. But Facebook might be more important than the BBC.

 

Posted: 6th, September 2018 | In: News, Technology, TV & Radio | Comment


Jed Mercurio’s Bodyguard harks back to the Johnson Dick affair

When not giving the ‘go‘ for an innocent man to be shot dead on the London Underground, Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick is on the PR trail. Last week Dick popped up on Good Morning Britain, the televised middle-class coffee morning, to discuss, among other things, Jed Mercurio’s BBC thriller Bodyguard.

Dick mistook fiction for fact, praising the show’s “senior” females as “role models”, who are, er, actors working to a script. A woman playing a top copper with five lines on the show is not the actual superior to the lower rank plod who plays the show’s star, the actual Bodyguard.

Cressida did, however, manage to say the show was “ridiculous”, turning off as soon as sexual signals were exchanged between the protector and the protected – in the show the Home Secretary and her Bodyguard shag. But is it so far fetched? No.

 

 

In 2011, the BBC reported on a real-life matter:

A police bodyguard to former Home Secretary Alan Johnson has been sacked after an inquiry into an alleged affair with the Labour MP’s wife.

PC Paul Rice, 45, was dismissed by the Metropolitan Police, which condemned him for damaging its reputation.

Mr Johnson quit as shadow chancellor in January as allegations surrounding the affair became public.

The Dick and Johnson Affair – not as ridiculous as it sounds.

Posted: 5th, September 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, TV & Radio | Comment